Contrasting Days

My twins were eight years old yesterday. Eight. I can hardly believe it. Those eight years have passed so quickly and so slowly. It seems such a short time ago that I held them in my arms for the first time. So short a time since Lanie and I cooed over Patrick as he breathed the open air for the first time. Pat had a slight issue with his breathing for the first few minutes and it sounded like he was saying “ello, ello”. Or as we waited an eternity for Kitty to show signs of life – silent, still, no signs of life for a few seconds. Seconds that seemed an eternity, then she burst into life with a lamb-like cry that had the whole room moved. The struggles of the previous year forgotten as we held our twin babies, our pride and joy. I have never felt as happy as that moment. To see the smile on Lanie’s face, the relief there and the love for our new little family. I shut my eyes right now and picture it. One of life’s most perfect moments.

That was the day we celebrated yesterday. A day very much to celebrate. The day I became a grown up. The day I became a father. A father of twins, no less. I fussed around during the day yesterday. I made them pizzas, I bought a little cake and some other treats. I helped with Lego constructions. I took photos while they opened presents and took in their joy for my own. These children are becoming funny clever people that are wonderful to be around. So today was worthy of celebrating them. I am so very proud of them. (more…)

Lent Sacrifice

I’m not a spiritual person – I don’t give up things for lent as a religious observance. However this year I’ve joined my wife in giving up Twitter and Facebook for lent.

FB is easy. I don’t use it much anyway, there’s only so much bullshit “pass this on” rubbish one can take. “Friends are wonderful, if you have a friend share this to show how much you love them”, “Parents are great, share this if you’re a parent”. You know, that kind of shite.

However I love the discourse of Twitter and already on day one I’m missing it. I’ve had to remove the Tweetdeck icon from my taskbar and from my browser just so I don’t automatically open the program by mistake.

I will likely still post on Twitter/FB without visiting and reading the sites purely because my blog can auto post, I can share links via my browser and I will share links from my Flickr photostream. But the traffic will be one way, it’s just auto stuff, not me getting properly involved in the streams.

I live a long way from my family and have no local friends. I maintain existing friendships via social media – mostly Twitter. So it will be interesting to see how I cope over the next few weeks. It’s an interesting experiment – watch as Harry is shorn of his social contact and slowly goes insane.

Front Element Dust – One Man’s Quest

Maybe others have done this before, but I want to relate a little story of how I solved an issue with my Fujinon 18-55mm and a persistent blob of dust on the inside of the front element.

I had this big piece of dust on the inside front element of the lenses. This didn’t adversely affect the image in any way but was annoying me. I believe it was a dust mite, it even seemed to move around a little and would come towards the edge of the lens when I shone a torch there. But I could not shift it completely, it kept returning to the front element.

I read some advice about killing mites in lenses by freezing. So I sealed the lens in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer for a few hours. I didn’t release the lens from the bag until it had returned to room temperature. Whatever the dust blob was it didn’t move again after this. But it was still sat there in the middle of the front element. I had killed the beast but not shifted it.


A Response to Mumsnet, On Grief

I read a lot of rubbish on the internet. That’s part of my job. I’ve also developed something of a thick skin, I can even read YouTube comments without eating my own knees off.

But sometimes you come across something so idiotic, so fueled by stupidity and hate you have to comment. And in this case it was a Mumsnet thread about someone moving on and finding love again after being bereaved. I don’t know if my response in the thread will remain, so I post it below.


My Sex Is On Fire

I wrote recently about how I wasn’t well at the moment and some of the rather unpleasant procedures I’ve undergone to get to the bottom1 of whatever is wrong with me.

If you remember I had two tests lined up. I’ve been very nervous about these tests, more because I’ve been scared of what they might find. Partly because I tend to worry about such things anyway and also because a stupid GP scared the Bejaysus2 out of me.

Well the experience of the first test was fine. As fine as being fed feet first into a giant radioactive doughnut can be anyway. We can save on electricity bills now as I’ll glow in the dark for a year or so. In the week since the CT scan I’d not heard from my GP or consultant and took that to mean “no news is good news”. After all if they’d found anything in there they’d have called me, right?3.


What’s the matter with Harry?

I’ve not enjoyed the latter half of 2011 thanks to a lingering illness. What’s wrong with me? My guess is something as simple as kidney stones, but it has been a tough few months that has seen me at times feeling a-okay and other times in pain and having to take to my bed.

The months have been frustrating and scary too thanks to the inability of various general practitioners to prescribe a coherent treatment regime. I’ve seen four different GPs over the last few months and this has not been entirely satisfactory – from one locum who felt she’d tell me it could be cancer (but then did nothing at all to help in this regard) to another who told me my symptoms couldn’t be kidney stones (the whole internet and a consultant urologist say he’s wrong).

The truth is I’m fed up with the whole thing. Fed up with being unwell for months on end and fed up of dealing with an organisation – the NHS – I don’t have great faith in. And as we’ll come to later – I’m coming to some embarrassing conclusions about my general health and my own culpability.

Sounds too dry? Don’t feel like reading on? Go on, there’s a good bit about a doctor sticking his finger up my bum. Well good for you reader, less good for me and my bum and for that matter dignity.


Filing Wives in Chronological Order

I wish to register a complaint. My complaint is with the jargon one has to work with when discussing your married relationships should you have been married more than once. The vocabulary of past marriages really is rather limiting in choice and makes no-one look good. Nor does it allow one to fully explain one’s situation without having to digress.

When I talk about my “first wife” it implies several things. Firstly that I’ve had more than one wife – which is fair enough. Secondly that the first marriage ended in divorce – it didn’t. And finally that I’m the kind of reprehensible dirtbag that can’t honour my wedding vows – I’m not. For me the biggest problem with the phrase is it implies that I’m talking about someone who no longer means much to me, when quite the opposite is true.


A Retrospective

I recently received the official wedding photos for mine and Lanie’s wedding. I won’t bore you with why it’s taken over three years for me to receive the photos we paid for – at least I have them now and that’s that.

The pictures made for difficult viewing as you’d expect. Lanie died within six months of those photos being taken and every bit of them is drenched in sadness because of that. However I’m glad to have them, both as a memory of an astonishingly important and wonderful event and because I really don’t have as many pictures of Lanie as I’d like. One day the twins will want to see these.

Another reason the pictures were hard to look at was the complete cock Lanie and I made of the wedding. Getting pregnant with twins really messed up the plans for the dress. We got the music badly wrong and made a terrible job of making our guests feel welcome. And I was so nervous I spent the morning puking. Lanie and I would laugh about all these weeks later, but I still feel embarrassed that we didn’t mingle properly with our guests – sorry once again folks.